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29 April 2012

Guest Post: Raymond Masters on Self Publishing and Crowdfunding

There's been a lot of changes to the publishing industry lately. Many authors suddenly found they no longer need to rely on traditional publishing channels to distribute their works to the public. But how can aspiring authors seize this opportunity and get started if they are operating on a limited budget?

Today I would like to welcome Raymond Masters, author of Forging Truth to share his thoughts on self publishing and how alternative funding methods such as Kickstarter can help independent authors reach their dreams. Without further ado, I'll hand it over to Raymond.


My name is Raymond Masters. I am the author of The Truth Saga. I self-published Forging Truth, the first book in the series, back in December of last year. It was an interesting journey and one I didn't know I was on when I first set out on the road to writing. You see, originally, I had every intention of landing my manuscript with one of the big dog publishing houses. After a few rejections, I started thinking I could settle with a midlevel publisher. A few more rejections and I began to wonder if I was missing something.

Along about that time, I began heavily using Twitter to interact with other writers, many of which were either independently published or had gone out on a limb and published their own works. One of my new friends was doing quite well with offering his series electronically. He was really immersing himself in the Kindle message boards and other communities. He was constantly networking and making new friends with other writers and readers, alike. And he was selling. Not big, mind you, but enough to make a living.

I wanted that, too, so I began grilling him over every little nuance of his own journey. Something we first discussed was the amount of control a self-published author has. There is no editorial mandate or "suggestion" to cut a scene, kill a character, or otherwise change the entire course of what you had in mind. As important, if not more so, you do not have to give up a chunk of what you make to your publisher. You retain the revenue for your hard work. You retain the rights. It's all gravy, right?

Well, okay, so there are some challenges, as you might have guessed. Foremost, I've found it extremely difficult to promote The Truth Saga since I released book one four months ago. I spend so much time getting the word out and after the first two months, my sales have come to a halt. Why? I believe I have hit my wall of influence. All of my Twitter and Facebook followers have already picked up a copy if they were interested. I've hand delivered hard copies to those in my offline world that wanted a copy, too. That's the type of thing a publisher can provide for you. By self-publishing, you're taking on the role of the public relations department in conjunction with being an author. In addition, there are many other challenges, including having to pay for your own copies. Sorry, no comp copies for you! You can get those for cheaper if you buy in bulk, but many authors can't afford to do so. There's no budget but your own, I'm afraid.

One way to combat some of these costs is by utilizing various crowdfunding options, such as Kickstarter.com and Indygogo.com. How can these sites help you achieve your dreams? I'm really only familiar with Kickstarter to tell the truth, but if you'd like to read up on some of the others, here's a pretty cool link to an article from CNN Money:
http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2012/technology/1204/gallery.crowdfunding-startups/index.html.

Let's take a look at Kickstarter. They've only been around for a couple of years, and they've already helped fund so many wonderful projects. The majority of their funds are raised for independently produced projects. These are concepts and ideas that were spawned by folks like you and me. And some of these have raised millions of dollars. Of course, those examples aren't writing related, but I've seen some comic books and novels fetch thousands. That's the power of crowdfunding. That's the amazing power of patronage. These are folks you most likely will never meet fact-to-face, yet the sense of community and giving aid to those struggling to get a quality product to the masses, really brings out the support.

The key to this, as with so much else, is to get the word out there. Enlist the help of a dedicated core group that can help you spread the word. Find those in your circles whom you feel could best influence others to come see what all of the fuss is about. Get creative. Do research. Remember: Google is your pal. Look up as many different articles as you can, regarding successful Kickstarter campaigns. Find the ones that best suit your goal; and run with it. And be sure to drop me a line and let me know how your experience with crowdfunding.

While we're on the subject of Kickstarter, I have my very own campaign brewing with less than a month to go. As you can see by clicking through the link below, I am far from reaching my dream. While I am warmed by those who have contributed so far, I cannot reach my goal without your help. If you cannot give, then at the very least, help me to spread the word. It's one of the cheapest forms of aid we can give one another.

Take care and happy fundraising,
Raymond

Here’s where you can find out more about Raymond Masters:
Blog: http://raymondmasters.wordpress.com/

Where to find Forging Truth:
Kindle
Paperback

Kickstarter Fundraiser:
“Fund The Truth Saga Book 2 and Get Books 1 and 2″

About Forging Truth:
Kade Truth awakens in a strange house sideways of reality, where he learns he has “died” in a mysterious attack on the Statue of Liberty. Rather than facing the afterlife, he now wields energy powers, including flight. Kade joins and befriends Caduceus – eccentric caretaker, magician, and feeder of soup – and Mao F’Yang – an intoxicating girl with the uncanny ability to disappear – in a quest to regain his memories, uncover who is behind the attack, and discover why he has been so drastically altered.

In a counter to Kade’s mission, the malign Dark Monk joins forces with Richard Van Parson – arrogant CEO of VPI – to forward his own hellish agenda under the ruse of a retaliatory war.

The question remains, though, if the French government orchestrated the Liberty Island attack, why are our heroes certain of Van Parson’s involvement? What ties does the Dark Monk have with Caduceus? What designs does he have for Kade? And will Kade unravel the truth in time to embrace his true destiny?

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